Six ways to catch up with friends when everyone seems too busy

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In the land of 50+ hour work weeks, side hustles and significant others, keeping up with friends is no easy task. So many of us end up being “too busy” during the week, and trying to get schedules to align with friends is like trying to open a bottle of wine with a shoe (it can be done, but the struggle is real, and the outcome is uncertain).

Here’s how to catch up with friends when everyone seems too busy:

Leave one hour for a friend between work and Date Night

Seriously, those endless emails can wait if 5:30 has already rolled around. If it’s your sacred Date Night, you’ve already deflected all conceivable work events. Do something simple, like meet up for a flight of kombucha on the Lenny Boy Brewing Co. patio. Sunshine and probiotics for all!

Say “yes” to a drive-by drop-in

A friend of mine who has been working excessively pulled this maneuver the other day. She flat out said she’s too busy and can’t stay long, but can she drop by my place around 6:15? She burst through my door, plopped on my couch and we rattled off our important life details of late. No silly small talk. She was gone by 6:30. It was ridiculous and I loved it.

Send a round of text messages

I loathe long text message conversations. But sometimes four long messages packed with life updates on a lunch break are just the right reminder that someone is here for you, and vice versa, even if meeting up in person feels impossible this week.

Set a time for dinner out, for whoever can come

Enough of that wishy-washy “where do you want to go?” and “what time is best?” nonsense. Send a group message to your friends and their significant others (yep, rope everyone in) and say you’re grabbing dinner at this time and this place, for whoever can come. My friend just did this with her birthday dinner and it worked. Coming for you, Dandelion Market.

Write a letter

A couple of my long-distance friends do this, whether we see each other on occasion or not. Nothing feels more personal than sitting down at your kitchen table with a pen and a card and writing something like, “Hey, I’m sitting at my kitchen table on a Saturday. Here’s what I’m thinking about right now.”

Make phone dates

Skype was for all of those long-distance relationships that flopped in college. Pick a 20-minute time frame to call a friend on the weekend and stick to it. It’s even easier if one of you is roadtripping and has time to kill anyway.

And yes, these methods to make friendships work are nice in concept. It all still takes practice, and it still takes pushing other tasks aside to make time. But that’s what matters most: Time.

Photo: Katie Toussaint

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